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Students during a lesson


Curriculum Intent:

To know the mind is to know the world…

The intent of the psychology curriculum is to develop students to be confident and articulate in explaining and evaluating research into human and animal behaviour. The focus is to develop the skills to allow a multidisciplinary understanding of behaviour whilst also developing the ability to commit information to LTM memory through interleaving and retrieval practice.

Psychology is offered as

  • GCSE Options Year 10 & 11
  • IB Psychology Year 12 & 13


Key Stage 4 Psychology

Curriculum Overview

Students in Key Stage 4 have two periods a week studying AQA GCSE Psychology qualification.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 Research methods Social Influence Memory Perception Development
Year 11 Brain and Neuropsychology Psych Problems Language Thought and Communication Revision Revision

Year 10

In year 10, students study the following topics; Research methods (including how psychologists plan and conduct research and analyse their findings); Social Influence (including factors affecting conformity, obedience, prosocial behaviour, and crowd behaviour); Memory (including the processes of encoding, storage, and retrieval, different types of memory, and factors affecting the accuracy of memories); Perception (including explanations for visual illusions and factors affecting perception); and Development (including early brain development, the development of intelligence, and how learning affects development).

Year 11

In year 11, students study the following topics; Brain & neuropsychology (including the structures and functions of neurons, the brain, and the wider nervous system and the use of neuropsychology to study brain functioning); Psychological problems (including the impact of mental health problems on individuals and society and the biological and psychological explanations and treatments for depression and addiction); and Language, thought, & communication (including the relationship between language and thought, the difference between animal and human communication, and non-verbal communication).

Assessment at GCSE

Unit 1: Making Sense of Other People-  1 x 1hr 45 minute exam 50%

Unit 2: Understanding Other People-     1 x 1hr 45 minute exam 50%

Further Reading/Resources

The British Psychological Society (BPS):


Key Stage 5 Psychology

Curriculum Review

Students at Key Stage follow the IB Psychology course as part of the IB Diploma.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 (SL) Socio Cultural Approach Cognitive Approach Internal Assessment
Year 12 (HL)

Additional to SL.

Relationships Additional Higher Level Content
Year 13 (SL) Biological Approach

Abnormal Psychology

Year 13 (HL)

Additional to SL

Research Methods Revision

 Year 12

Year 12 (Standard Level) students will study two core areas of Psychology; the Socio-cultural Approach and the Cognitive Approach as well as completing their Internal Assessment. Year 12 (Higher Level) students will study a higher level option which focuses on Relationships and a further unit which explores Research Methods.

Year 13

In Year 13 (Standard Level) students will study a further core area of Psychology which is the Biological Approach and a standard level option which focuses on Abnormality. Year 13 (Higher Level) students will continue to study a higher level option which focuses on Research Methods.

Assessment at IB

Standard Level:

Paper 1: 1 x 2 hour exam (50% of overall grade)

Paper 2: 1 x 1 hour exam (25% of overall grade)

Internal Assessment: 2000 word project (25% of overall grade)

Higher Level:

Paper 1: 1 x 2 hour exam (40% of overall grade)

Paper 2: 1 x 2 hour exam (20% of overall grade)

Paper 3: 1 x 1 hour exam

Internal Assessment: 2000 word project (20% of overall grade)

Further Reading/ Resources              

The British Psychological Society (BPS):

Mindwatching: Why We Behave the Way We Do  by H.J. Eysenck and Michael W. Eysenck

Routledge Modular Psychology

Predictably Irrational – Dan Airely

Crazy Like Us – Ethan Watters

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

The Essential Difference – Simon Baron-Cohen


British Values:

British Values in Psychology

Democracy: Students study the role of the BPS in overseeing research practices as a governing body to keep participants safe and research moving forward.

Rule of Law: A-Level – Within the forensic psychology unit we consider the reasons for offending behaviour and consequently the ways in which we deal with offending behaviour. We consider the implications of these explanations on our criminal justice system.

Individual Liberty: Students learn about key debates within psychology, one being free will vs. determinism – as part of this we explore the extent to which we have freedom of choice over our action and the implications of this.

Mutual Respect: A fundamental area of study within psychology is “Ethics” – students learn about the ways in which we conduct research in psychology and how the rights of our participants should always be the most important thing when designing and carrying out research. Students study examples of studies where ethical guidelines have and have not been followed and learn ways in which to protect participants from harm.

  • GCSE – Students learn about mental health issues which may give them an understanding of what others may be going through and can lead to the reduction of the negative stigma around mental health.
  • A-level and IB – Students learn more about the research process, in particular peer review and how the expertise of peers is valued when considering the academic rigour of a piece of work

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs:

  • GCSE – Students learn about cultural differences in the ways in which people communicate and how understanding these differences can lead to more effective links between different cultures. Students also learn about cultural variations in mental health at GCSE, looking at how “mental health” is not a universal concept.
  • A-Level – Students study different mental health issues, the ways in which we define, diagnose and treat. The range of perspectives within this topic helps students to understand that often there is no “correct” answer, just different perspectives, each with valid ideas.
  • IB – Students study enculturation and acculturation to learn more about how individuals can shape their culture around them as well as be shaped by the culture. In addition, students consider culture when evaluating research and whether or not a piece of research can be respectfully applied to a culture according to its norms and values. In human relationships students study the formation of relationships in different cultures and the differences for example between individualist and collectivist cultures. Additionally, they consider different types of marriage including love-based and arranged marriages.